Hosing Around

By Sharon Naylor

February 24, 2017 5 min read

Not all garden hoses are created equal, just as no garden and landscape is constructed equal. Hose styles not only vary in quality and durability but also in their effectiveness for a particular use. If you've been approaching all of your watering tasks with one basic garden hose, you may be missing out on the benefits that specialty hoses offer.

Specialty hoses can be more well-suited for particular conditions and projects, as well as appeal to a gardener's personal preference. Having a general knowledge of garden hose considerations will prove useful when you're on the hunt for the perfect specialty hose.

*Distance

Depending on the surface area of your lawn or garden, you may need hoses of different lengths and/or several hoses and attachments. According to the "Garden Hose Buying Guide" on the Lowe's home improvement store website, garden hoses are sold in increments of 25 feet. "Water pressure diminishes as the hose length increases," the site says, "so buy a hose that's long enough to reach where you'll be using it and no longer." Buying two shorter hoses and combining them when needed, as opposed to one longer hose, is suggested.

*Diameter

Hoses range in diameter, from 3/8 inch to 1/2 inch to 3/4 inch. Most hoses in the United States, according to the Lowe's site, are 5/8 inch. If your watering task demands a heavy flow, choose a hose with a bigger diameter.

*Attachments

A hose attachment allows you to choose the force and pattern of water flow, from a steady stream to a rain-like sprinkle. The spray nozzle is popular because it provides a spray pattern for every project. Simply toggle back and forth on the dial. Pistol and twist nozzles have adjustable sprays, such as a fan spray for gentle watering of new flowers and a jet spray for cleaning and washing.

*Reel and Hanger

A garden hose reel is a great way to keep your hose kink-free, easy to unspool and neatly stored. Unraveling is as simple as turning a handle. Plus, the hose will be enclosed and therefore guarded from small animals or other damage. Whereas reels are generally portable, a hose hanger attaches to the side of your house. Marie Iannotti, a gardening expert of the lifestyle site The Spruce, says: "The simplest of hose reels are the wheels you mount on a wall and wind the hose around. Simple, but functional. And sometimes simple is the only way things get done."

*Material

The weight of a hose, which is determined by its material, can make a big difference in your ability to maneuver around during your project. Sure, an extra a shoulder and bicep workout might be appreciated on occasion, but dragging the hose around can certainly be challenging and inconvenient.

Rubber hoses are the heaviest but most durable. Vinyl hoses are more lightweight and easy to use, making them the most popular choice for homeowners. Combination rubber-vinyl hoses are sold often, which have a medium weight and are relatively durable.

According to the 2015 Consumer Reports article "How to cut your water use in half," homeowners tend to overwater their grass and lawn, which can harm your greenery and your budget. Specialty hoses offer ease and efficiency for gardening projects and can even help you save you money on your monthly water bill.

*Flow-Control Hose

This type of hose helps conserve water by employing either an on-off lever or a handheld activator and shut-off. Historically, people would often fold or kink their hose to stop water flow while they hurried back to the spigot to turn off the water. While simple, this strategy often results in detrimental puddling in a landscaping area or a surprise spray of water to the face. Flow-control hoses provide more precision and avoid wasting water.

*Soaker Hose

A soaker hose is made from porous material that gently seeps water into your garden and landscape. This is a preferred method of watering for some types of garden plants, bushes, trees and herbs, for they water slowly and evenly. And they are particularly helpful in times of drought.

*Drink-Safe Hose

Nowadays, there is concern for garden hose water being contaminated with lead that leaks from the hose material. Look for hoses that are labeled "drink-safe," which are lead-free and made from FDA-approved materials. And since bacteria grows in warm standing water, let the water run until it's cold before taking a sip.

Discuss your lawn and garden needs with an expert at your local nursery. Bring photos of your plants, trees, etc., so your expert can determine your watering needs and suggest the perfect specialty hose.

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